Friday Roundup: Data, Analytics, Privacy, Security and a PR Imbroglio

May 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm 1 comment

By Mary Ludloff

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s been a very busy week in story-land so in honor of this auspicious day, I thought I’d post about some of the more interesting stories that came across my Twitter feed, Google alerts, and email updates. So without further ado, let’s get cracking!

It’s All About the Data (Plus Analytics)

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to wade through McKinsey’s study on “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity.” Full disclosure: it comes in at 156 pages of fascinating information so it will take me a while to read and absorb, but once I’m done look for a post or two on my key takeaways. Until then, a recent New York Times article provides some of the highlights:

“It makes estimates of the potential benefits from deploying data-harvesting technologies and skills. The McKinsey research unit, for example, says the value to the health care system in the United States could be $300 billion a year, and that American retailers could increase their operating profit margins by 60 percent.”

Did you know that business data doubles every 1.2 years? It’s all that digital data coming from logistics, sales, customers, suppliers, and don’t forget email, web traffic, and social media sites. It goes without saying (but I am saying it anyway) that analytics are the key to unlocking the value in all that data!

Data Privacy Concerns, Big Brother, and the FTC

You may have missed this article on terrorism tips, law enforcement, and the collection and storage of “tips” in databases around the country from the Kansas City Star:

“Before the Sept. 11 attacks, police would have checked them out. If no crime was discovered, the information might have been forgotten… Now, many of these clues are being entered into databases across the country and pored over by counterterrorism experts. Depending on the state or city, the data may be retained for years… While law enforcement officials say the information helps them to connect the dots to prevent the next attack, the avid gathering of data raises concerns that police are collecting personal information about Americans who aren’t criminals.”

It’s clear that the collection and use of personal data goes far beyond advertising—a topic that we pay a great deal of attention to in our upcoming Ebook (plugging away).

A great editorial in the Los Angeles Times (and reprinted by the Bellingham Herald) also takes on the privacy issue, calling on the FTC to continue its regulatory policies as lawmakers grapple with the issue in a number of pending bills :

“Individuals should have a say in the matter, however, when sensitive and personally identifiable information is collected and shared. Simply using the Web shouldn’t be tantamount to consenting to electronic surveillance. The challenge for policymakers is figuring out how to give consumers the right degree of control without making it impractical for companies to make innovative uses of personal information – in other words, to balance privacy concerns against the demand for ever-more-functional devices and services.”

Data Security, Sony, and the Cloud

Sony is the latest to be hit by a data security breach. In a detailed article, the Wall Street Journal provides the “play by play” on what happened:

“Sony Chief Executive Howard Stringer issued a public apology this week for what the company later disclosed was a data breach that compromised more than 100 million user accounts on three public networks, and a delay in informing users of the theft. Sony says the loss included users’ names, birthdates and passwords. It also hasn’t ruled out the loss of credit card numbers associated with the Sony PlayStation network.”

Some analysts indicate that the breach may cost Sony $1 billion and many security analysts find the breach very “difficult to excuse.”

Speaking of security, the Ponemon Institute released a report on the Security of Cloud Computing Providers. A key report finding:

“The majority of cloud providers believe it is their customer’s responsibility to secure the cloud and not their responsibility. They also say their systems and applications are not always evaluated for security threats prior to deployment to customers.”

If you don’t have time to read the entire report, the Information Law Group cuts to the chase for you:

“The fundamental takeaway from the Ponemon study is that cloud security is very much a work in progress, and that any cloud initiative or plan for corporate cloud usage needs serious due diligence by representatives from business, IT and legal working in conjunction.”

Facebook, Google, and the Privacy PR War

Most likely, you’ve been riveted on this story as it is filled with soap-operaish drama. Fast Company has done us all a big favor by putting the PR campaign and the privacy “issue” under the microscope and looking at it through the eyes of the two companies involved:

“The battle between the Silicon Valley greats isn’t typical corporate warfare. It’s a clash between two organizations fighting for their missions (and, yes, their money).”

We’re at pii2011 next week. Hope to see you there—look for tweets and posts about our experience!

Entry filed under: Data, General Analytics, General Business. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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